A Paradigm Shift

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 4/26/20

Now that governments are “reopening the economy,” we think that things will go back to normal. This will not happen. Even if businesses open, the volume of activity will not return to what it was prior to the lockdown since people understand that many of the things they thought they needed were actually redundant. Governments may give incentives to individuals and businesses to reignite consumerism, but many people are losing the pleasure in shopping.

Now governments need to mobilize business owners whose businesses will not be sustainable after the lockdown. Instead of their businesses, governments need to “occupy” them in learning how to correct society and make it more connected. During the training, they will receive a livable allowance, and eventually they too will become teachers. The ultimate goal of governments should be to create sustainable societies whose people provide for everyone’s staples while individuals occupy themselves mainly in strengthening social solidarity.

We are moving from a paradigm of measuring success in terms of wealth, to measuring it in terms of happiness and satisfaction, and these will come from social cohesion, not from money. The faster we transition, the easier and more pleasant it will be on all of us.

[Pedestrians wearing masks walk past shuttered businesses on Broadway as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., April 25, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson]

Audio Version Of The Blog – 4/26/20

Listen to an Audio Version of the Blog
Download:MP3 Audio

My Thoughts On Twitter 4/26/20

Dr Michael Laitman Twitter

Individually each one is helpless in the face of one’s egoism—unable to do anything against it. But if we look at others, we get the forces to act—physically and morally. We just need the realization of the necessity, a common solution and example, like in a ten.

In the face of the #coronavirus we are all equally vulnerable. We all had to stay home, undergo the new state the same way. But once we got used to this same feeling, now, upon coming out of the quarantine, we’ll discover how different we are: rich and poor.
From Twitter, 4/26/20

Related Material:
My Thoughts On Twitter 4/22/20
My Thoughts On Twitter 4/21/20
My Thoughts On Twitter 4/20/20

From Babylon To Rome, Part 5

laitman_933Ezra and Nehemiah: Restoring the Nation

Question: Upon returning to Judea, discord continued to surface among the people. At this time, two spiritual leaders appeared: Ezra and Nehemiah.

They took various measures to restore Jewish society, which had already begun to disintegrate, assimilate, and adopt the ethics of their neighbors. Therefore, mixed marriages were banned, instructions were given to abstain from work on the Sabbath (Saturday), and general education of the Torah was introduced, etc.

What is this about? Are these external laws somehow connected to the unity of the people? Surely we are talking about more internal things?

Answer: It speaks about preserving the people. It was necessary to create a society that would be guided by its principles, not the principles of the surrounding nations.

At that time, Jews were surrounded by fairly powerful nations: the Romans, Greeks, Persians, and Egyptians. In our time, these nations and regions fell into relative decline, but then, they were great civilizations that clashed, invaded each other, and competed among themselves. Therefore, the Jews were faced with a problem of how to create a framework for preserving the nation.

The institution of Cohens and Levites (priests) was re-established to train the teachers. This was prior to the construction of the Temple. This is how the education of the whole nation began. Children learned the laws by which their ancestors existed back in the time of Abraham and even Adam.

Question: Were these laws not observed before that?

Answer: They were observed, but gradually everything was forgotten, swept away by the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian captivity, etc. It was necessary to restore them again.

But the most important thing was the rebirth of closeness between the Jews. If any nation lived on their own were left without any authority, they would still know how to exist. But the Jewish people do not because the 70 roots of the ancient Babylonian nations that they come from began speaking through them. Therefore, a method of connection between the people had to be introduced. This is what Ezra and Nehemiah were doing.

Naturally, everything was no longer in the form that it was during Abraham or Moses, when he led the people through the desert from Egypt to Israel, or Joshua, when entering the Land of Israel. Everything was on a different, lower, more simplified level.

But still, they taught the people these very laws, literally from the very beginning, since the transmission of spiritual knowledge from generation to generation was disrupted due to Babylonian and Egyptian exiles.

Also, the nation that went into exile was no longer holy. There was discourse and fighting among them, they did not want to observe any social rules, even somewhat “loving your neighbor.” Thus, the exile occurred.

Therefore, they had to be educated all over again, which is what Ezra and Nehemiah did. This was a practical resurrection of the nation.
From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel,” 7/8/19

Related Material:
From Babylon To Rome, Part 4
From Babylon To Rome, Part 3
From Babylon To Rome, Part 2

“Baby Steps To Love” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Baby Steps to Love.

With all the talk about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other relief packages in the U.S. and other countries, you could think that the vanishing of COVID-19 is just around the corner. It is not. It will be with us for a long time coming. Temporary relief packages that are not accompanied by nationwide job restructuring programs are as good as throwing that money down the drain.

Just look at what the National Institute of Health (NIH) writes: “There are hundreds of coronaviruses, most of which circulate among such animals as pigs, camels, bats and cats. Sometimes those viruses jump to humans — called a spillover event — and can cause disease.” Such spillovers caused the SARS epidemic in 2002, the MERS epidemic in 2012, and now the second SARS epidemic, known as SARS-CoV-2, which causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). That last one has become a pandemic, paralyzed the world, crushed the world economy, made tens of millions of people unemployed literally overnight, and is still wreaking havoc all over the world. Worse yet, we have not found a vaccine to even one of the strains of coronavirus.

Yet, a vaccine isn’t the only way to deal with the virus. In fact, it is the least efficient since, as it happens nearly every year with the flu, new strains of the virus are appearing all the time, and it is likely that a vaccine will not be effective against all of them.

It is no accident that spillovers from animals are happening so frequently in recent years, as we have cultivated a mindset of exploitation of human resources and natural resources that has become so invasive that it is ravaging the planet and destroying society. Now it is finally backfiring against the perpetrators of these wrongs: humanity, and Western society in particular.

Therefore, we need a deeper transformation. Eliminating COVID-19 is like blocking the flow of sewer out of one hole in one place only to find it is flowing out of another. We need to stop the flow altogether, the flow that is caused by our behavior. And the only way to permanently change our behavior is to change ourselves. However you look at it, the root cause will always be human behavior, and human behavior can be changed only by changing humans.

As long as we continue to cultivate a culture of ruthlessness, alienation, and destructive competition, we will end up losing. We will lose to nature as we are losing now, and we will lose to our own nature as we are seeing in today’s skyrocketing violence, suicide rates, and substance abuse mortality. We are competing ourselves to death, very literally.

The coronavirus is a force of nature, but we can decide whether to take it toward the positive or negative direction. It has set us apart, deprived us of our favorite occupation of hurting one another. In separating us, it has shown us that our connections are the problem. If we transform our connections from abusive to supportive, we will find that we are treating not only each other in this way, but all of reality. In return, reality will transform its attitude toward us and the world will become a welcoming home once more.

The hiatus from the rat race of consumerism that was destroying the world is our chance to block it before it drives us off the cliff. It is an opportunity to reeducate ourselves on life, on the things it has to offer, such as love, friendship (real, not the social media kind), and mutual responsibility. We should use this time to cultivate new jobs and occupations, ones that strengthen our society and not divide it. In today’s job market, there is no justification for ruthless capitalism and senseless competition. Only those who dedicate their time to others will find success in what they do.

The mind of a caring person is infinitely more open than the mind of one who sees nothing but his or her own interest. Caring for others is a chance to learn, experience what others’ lives are like, feel what we did not know exist, and do it in the baby steps that the virus is allowing us to take, one video chat at a time. When we are ready for more contact, the virus will leave and let us meet in person, this time with all the good intentions.

“How Will The Coronavirus Affect The World Economy?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: How will the coronavirus affect the world economy?

To start with, after this prolonged period of the conditions that the coronavirus has placed us into, our attitude to the world will become different and there will be major changes.

We will change psychologically, and accordingly, our systems, connections and perceptions will change such that there will be no return to the pre-coronavirus world.

The post-coronavirus world will be new. Our behaviors and connections will be different to what they were before the coronavirus.

I think that we will have a better feel of what is and isn’t essential in life, and that we will value a more internal definition of connection and closeness to each other. The extent of our psychological change will determine the extent of change in our systems, the economy included.

During the coronavirus period, while we are in prolonged social distancing and stay-at-home conditions, I think that the economy should operate in an emergency-like manner: that the government provides life’s essentials to every person—food, housing, water, electricity, and various municipal services per capita. I also think that our increased focus on life’s essentials will see the fall of a lot of businesses that we have no real need for.

The more that we endure this period, the more our awareness of what is most important in life will increase. In turn, this will calm us down from our egoistic-competitive rat race that we used to run.

In terms of how the world economy will actually look at the end of the coronavirus period, I don’t think we can depict the changes in the meantime, because time has to play its role. We have been in these conditions for a little over a month. Let’s say we will be in these conditions for another six months. We cannot yet imagine the changes we would have gone through at the end of such a period.

Ideally, we would operate in more balance with nature, i.e., with more mutual consideration and responsibility. It means acting like one big family that looks at the means it has at its disposal, and how it can best allocate what it has to every member in a mutually beneficial way.

Accordingly, situations we currently see, where for instance one family member cannot afford to pay rent and another receives millions to support a personal stash of mansions and yachts would no longer make sense to us, and we would thus find ways to iron out these situations for everyone’s common benefit.

Such logic is neither socialistic, capitalistic or communistic. It is based on an understanding of nature’s laws and what nature requires of us in order for us to balance with it.

However, in order to reach that kind of economy, we would need to undergo a major change in our attitudes to each other—a shift in our priorities from self-benefit to benefiting others.

Likewise, if we make no strides in this attitude shift, we can expect no such motions to make our economy more balanced with nature.

That is why I think it is still too early to say how the economy and world will look at the end of the coronavirus period. It is like we are in a train that left its previous stop, and we’re headed to the next stop, which we’ve never visited before.

Reaching such changes requires connection-enriching learning.

Connection-enriching learning aims to improve our understanding of the interdependent world we find ourselves in today, and how today’s interdependence requires mutual consideration, responsibility, support and encouragement among all of us in order for us to survive and live satisfying lives.

Moreover, the more unemployment increases due to many unessential businesses falling, on one hand, and also due to technological means replacing human resources, on the other hand, the more we will become ready for a different economic solution to the ones we have today.

I have written extensively about my support for universal basic income as such a solution, but only on condition that a basic income is given in exchange for participating in connection-enriching learning, so that social connections become more positive and people learn how to accept, understand, and get along with everyone, as well as engage in the creation of a new atmosphere of mutual consideration, support, awareness and sensitivity. If basic income is not supplied together with such learning, then society would stagnate.

Therefore, I think that the coronavirus’ conditions will bring us closer to such an economy, even if only by better preparing us psychologically for it.

The sooner we will reach mutually considerate attitudes to each other and an economy that reflects that attitude shift, the sooner we will see less violence, crime and abuse of all kinds in society, together with increased personal and social happiness.

Ultimately, it is a question of what we value.

In Hebrew, the word for “money” (“Kesef”) has the same linguistic root as the word for “covering” (“Kisui”). Therefore, if we change the covering over our society from a consumerist value of one’s self-worth that accords to the amount of wealth, status and power one has, to one where we value not individual wealth, status and power, but people’s contribution to a positively-connected society, then we would be on our way to a world that is more balanced with nature, and thus would experience more harmonious lives.

“Can Something Like The Coronavirus Be The End Of The World?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Can something like the Coronavirus be the end of the world?

No. There is no end of the world. Matter continually changes and upgrades, never dying.

The coronavirus, as well as other epidemics, natural disasters, and literally any form that appears negative toward us from nature, surfaces in order to ultimately bring us closer to nature.

We might think that it is absurd, because how could a problem that kills and makes so many people sick bring us closer to nature?

Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

Nature is an interconnected and interdependent system that relates to all of its parts—the still, vegetative, animate and human—as a single whole. It does not relate to our physical bodies, but to what makes us human: our attitudes to each other.

Letting our attitudes to each other remain egoistic and self-centered, focused only on benefiting ourselves at the expense of other people and nature, awakens a negative response from nature. Blows from nature come ultimately in order to wake us up to the need to change our egoistic attitude to an attitude that is balanced with nature.

If we relate to nature’s feedback—seemingly negative phenomena as the coronavirus and myriad other blows that we endure—as a complete interconnected and interdependent system wanting and trying to bring us into balance with itself, then our correct response would be to merge our attitudes to each other in order to match nature’s integrality.

In other words, our correct response to blows from nature, especially the coronavirus, is to seek how we can better relate to one another, in order to become more unified and reach balance with nature.

Therefore, especially while we are under social distancing conditions brought upon us with the coronavirus, we would use these conditions ideally if we undertook a self-scrutiny, to reach the realization of how the coronavirus crisis came to us as a response to our imbalance with nature, and also to seek how we could use the time when we are isolated from each other in order to become more united and balanced with nature.

“If The Coronavirus Has A 95% Recovery Rate, Then What’s With All The Hype?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: If the coronavirus has a 95% recovery rate, then what’s with all the hype?

Indeed, humanity has experienced many pandemics, but nothing has ever received such a global response as we see today with the coronavirus.

The globality of the coronavirus is its uniqueness.

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

Many millions of people die from viruses and other diseases every year. What then is the big deal with the coronavirus?

I think that it is not about the health aspect of the virus as much as it is about humanity’s reevaluation of itself.

We have no feeling of this reevaluation taking place, but this is ultimately behind our reaction to this crisis.

There is a new sense of globality around humanity today that has never existed before, and this is why our response to the coronavirus is particularly unique.

Kabbalists over the generations have pointed to our generation as the one where we would have such a sensation, and they connect it to the entrance into a new era of human connection.

“What Are Your Thoughts About Social Distancing?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What are your thoughts about social distancing?

One of my students recently asked me, in light of the social distancing conditions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, gatherings of up to 5,000 people were initially permitted, then 2,000 people, then 500, 100, 10, and 5. The question was: Why nature is doing this to us, and what will result from it?

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

It is written, “Being scattered: for the wicked it is a benefit to them and to the world; but for the righteous, it is bad for them and bad for the world. Being gathered: for the wicked it is bad for them and bad for the world; but for the righteous, it is beneficial to them and beneficial to the world.” (Mishnah Sanhedrin, 8:5)

The social distancing conditions come as “benefit to the wicked.” We need to understand firstly what it means that we are “wicked,” and then why our scattering is ultimately of benefit to us.

The wickedness that the verse speaks of is embedded in our very egoistic human nature, which by default prioritizes personal benefit over benefiting others.

The more we develop, the more the ego grows, and in recent times it has become bloated.

Our pre-coronavirus world looked like a wild struggle for wealth, status and power, where we each tried to make our way in life by comparing ourselves with others, and always feeling deficient relative to them.

Therefore, social distancing lessens our jealously and calms down our society.

While in these social distancing conditions, we have been given a chance to become worthy of re-gathering. That is, by developing considerate attitudes to each other, to the extent of our mutual consideration, we will become worthy of coming closer together. On the contrary, the more selfish we are toward each other, then we should detach to the extent of our selfishness.

“What Do You Think The US Should Do Now In Response To COVID-19?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What do you think the US should do now in response to COVID-19?

Not only the US, but all countries would be wise to comprehend that humanity is headed toward more and more integration, and that they should follow suit.

Photo by Nick Bolton on Unsplash

In order to progress toward increasing global connection harmoniously, we require regular learning that enriches our understanding of our nature-based connection beyond borders, and also that we humans are the most harmful element within nature that needs to learn how to stop causing harm, and start becoming more balanced with nature.

The coronavirus’ social distancing conditions provide us with time for very important introspection in this direction: We can now see how the way we related to each other before the coronavirus was getting out of hand, and that while we are in stay-at-home conditions, we can revise our connections to each other so that we come out of this period ready for more positive social relations.

Therefore, education that brings us to more positive connection is what all countries would be wise to prioritize during this period in order for us to come out to a more balanced, peaceful and harmonious world.

Together with connection-enriching education, countries should secure people’s basic needs for food and housing. Families should be provided with the same per capita, relieving everyone of the pressure to make money. Moreover, food and housing would best be provided directly, and not by transferring monetary amounts into people’s bank accounts, as it would assure that people are provided with life’s essentials, and not that they would waste it on surplus.

Unessential industries and finance should be paused in the meantime, i.e., no transactions, and no giving or paying of loans. It should all simply freeze for the time being.

By taking care of our basic needs and providing us with learning materials that aim at raising awareness of our increasingly interdependent state around the world, and how to improve our connections to each other in order to experience such a state harmoniously, then we will optimally realize the current conditions that COVID-19 has placed us into, and our exit from the pandemic would be to a much better world.